INDIANAPOLIS – After a year away from football, former Notre Dame wide receiver DaVaris Daniels is ready to forge ahead and put a trying period behind him. He was suspended twice in 2014 for academic issues, which forced him to miss the entire season.
It was a major blow to Daniels, who was poised to be a significant contributor to a team that missed his offensive playmaking ability. In 2013, he caught 49 passes for 745 yards and seven touchdowns. But just as Daniels’ career was ready to take off, it abruptly ended.
"Just knowing what kind of season I was going to have," Daniels said. "That I was ready to put my name up there with top guys at Notre Dame, and having that all taken away from me, that was pretty hard to deal with."
The junior declared for the NFL draft when it became apparent continuing his education at Notre Dame was a steep hurdle to overcome. Daniels partook in extensive workouts in suburban Chicago to stay in game shape and prepare for his moment at the NFL Combine.
"It’s over now and I’m moving forward," Daniels said. "I’m excited and focused on what’s next for me. I grew a lot. The whole thing, the way it went down, really changed my outlook on life. Physically and mentally, I’m ready for the NFL. I think I made the right decision."
Pressed for specifics, Daniels would not elaborate on what his rule breaking entailed. He said he revealed the details to coaches, general managers and other executives.
Now it’s all in the past. Thursday introduced a new chapter in Daniels’ football odyssey, and it’s only just beginning.
"I know what I can do," he said. "People haven’t seen me in a while. The whole combine is big for me."
Colts address issues
The Indianapolis Colts have several personnel issues to address in the near future. Two became a hot topic when general manager Ryan Grigson and coach Chuck Pagano took the podium at the combine: Trent Richardson and Reggie Wayne.
Both entered the 2014 campaign with visions of the Lombardi Trophy and blue and white confetti. As the Colts walked off the Gillette Stadium field after another humbling by the New England Patriots, Richardson was back home in Indianapolis and Wayne’s role had diminished.
Richardson was suspended for the final two games and saw his carries go to the emerging tailback Dan Herron.
Answers weren’t provided on Thursday but not many football minds do not see a future for Richardson in Indianapolis. There’s heavy speculation that the Colts could use their first-round selection on a running back, possibly Indiana’s Tevin Coleman.
"This time of year, anytime of the year, it’s a fluid process," Grigson said. "You’ve probably noticed we’ve been making cuts. We’ve been adding to the 90-man roster. There’s lot of room.
"We’re continually making those decisions. We’ll make more decisions after who we see this week at the combine and those developing in free agency. We’ll have those targets, have those meetings and see which ones are actually viable to get."
Wayne, 36, a fan favorite who’s spent his entire 14-year career with the Colts, is showing his age. The wide receiver’s numbers declined after he suffered an elbow injury, and Pagano said the team is unaware of Wayne’s plans for 2015.
"There are certain guys we’re still waiting to see if they still want to play this game or not," Pagano said. "There are a lot of things up in the air at this point. But Reggie is an exceptional player. Everyone in this room knows what he means to this franchise and what he means to this organization."